Millbrook Heads Inaugural B.R.A.I.N e-Conference
In early December 2020, B.R.A.I.N (Barts Research and Advanced Interventional Neuroradiology) was run as a virtual conference for the first time ever.
In early December 2020, B.R.A.I.N (Barts Research and Advanced Interventional Neuroradiology) was run as a virtual conference for the first time ever. With the pandemic taking hold of the world, Millbrook Medical Conferences (Millbrook) transformed what was planned as a face-to-face conference in central London to an e-Conference.
The four-day e-Conference, B.R.A.I.N, took place from December 7-10 and was a real success. With only a three-month lead time, B.R.A.I.N reached a global audience of just under 900 delegates representing 35 countries.
Course directors and interventional neuroradiologists Dr Paul Bhogal, Dr Levansri Makalanda and Dr Ken Wong, approached Millbrook with the idea of organising the annual B.R.A.I.N conference.
The conference would welcome neuroradiologists, endovascular neurosurgeons and allied health professionals from all over the world. With a national and international faculty gathering under one roof to provide education on several topics, including stroke, aneurysms and new technology via in-person and virtual participation.
COVID-19 and government restrictions meant that B.R.A.I.N could not go ahead in-person as the trio had originally envisaged. Nevertheless, Millbrook Medical Conferences made sure that B.R.A.I.N 2020 still went ahead – but with a virtual format.
Millbrook utilised its dedicated web-based platform for the e-Conference, which offered a whole host of interactive features, whilst being user-friendly, eye-catching, and easy to access regardless of the user’s device and location. Sponsor exhibition pages, a social media hub and document libraries gave attendees access to a wealth of information and ensured continued engagement throughout the duration of the conference.
A chat function and Q&A boards were added to give two-way interaction for the delegates with the Q&A system moderated by Millbrook.
Millbrook worked closely with the 60-strong global faculty to ensure that they were all comfortable with the streaming platform and delivering live presentations. Millbrook preparations included arranging speaker briefings, creating training documents, and filming and editing 16 pre-filmed talks.
With more than 70 presentations spanning across the four days, each day focussed on a single topic, including stroke, aneurysms and embryology, phylogeny, AVM and DAVF. As the presentations were delivered by an international faculty comprising 60 speakers from 16 different countries, working across multiple time zones was pivotal to the success of the e-Conference.
In addition, Millbrook implemented a virtual green room for the speakers to access ahead of going live, which allowed them to familiarise themselves with the platform, ask questions, and prepare for the live conference itself. The virtual green room worked extremely well, putting the presenters and producers of the live stream at ease.
Commenting on the usefulness of the virtual green room, Dr Paul Bhogal, said:
“The virtual platform was so easy to access and navigate and the presentations were all very clear and streamed to perfection.
“Millbrook’s inclusion of a green room for virtual presenters to test before going live was an excellent addition.”
Good communication with the speakers was vital in the lead-up to the e-Conference, with Millbrook sending out reminders one week, one day, and one hour prior to going live, as well as obtaining back-ups of all presentations in case of any technical glitches.
As well as organising the e-Conference, Millbrook managed all the registrations, delegate queries, faculty and sponsor liaison and funding.
In the run up to B.R.A.I.N, Millbrook took over the @brainconferenc1 Twitter account and utilised its own @MillbrookMed channel to share engaging and relevant social media posts to build a sense of anticipation for the e-Conference. Millbrook leveraged email marketing, too, to encourage further registrations.
The e-conference received a wealth of positive feedback on both its content and format. The survey for the inaugural B.R.A.I.N conference was completed by 313 people.
The results show:
When asked what the best aspect of the e-conference was, one delegate said:
“High-quality lectures, with very interesting subjects. The possibility to watch the lectures at a later time is also warmly welcomed.”
Another delegate commented:
“The wide range of medical and technological advancements that have been presented in the context of case-based discussions was quite interesting for a foundation level doctor like myself.”
Other delegate feedback included:
“The best aspect was the availability to all students/doctors worldwide, online and free. Also, the organization was good and the topics, thank you.”
“Very organized, ease of asking questions, great selection of speakers.”
Taking to Twitter, one attendee said: “Fantastic conference guys, well done. Looking forward to 2021”, while another commented: “Great conference, excellent organisation!”.
Other comments included: “B.R.A.I.N @brainconferenc1 2020 was an amazing conference. I hope to participate it in person 2021!” and “Been the best virtual meeting of the year by miles, very well organised.”
Millbrook is looking forward to working with Dr Paul Bhogal, Dr Levansri Makalanda and Dr Oli Spooner for B.R.A.I.N 2022, which following the success of the e-Conference, will be held as a hybrid event.